The Project on Middle East Political Science, POMEPS, is a collaborative network designed to enhance the broader Middle East’s political science field and its engagement with the broader academic discipline, public policy, and the public sphere. POMEPS seeks to shape innovative new approaches to the political science of the region, support the field’s publication in leading academic journals, and ultimately build the number of tenured political scientists specializing on the Middle East. It also aims to increase their contribution to the public foreign policy debate and to the policy-making process, in order to allow their expertise to have more of an impact on vital decisions about the Middle East.

POMEPS is based at the Institute for Middle East Studies at the George Washington University and is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation and a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for Islam in a Changing Middle East. It is directed by Marc Lynch, and guided by a Steering Committee, which includes leading political scientists from major research universities.

The major activities of POMEPS are:

  • Annual Meeting: Once a year, POMEPS brings together more than 25 leading Middle East-focused political scientists from around the United States to discuss the field and to exchange work and ideas. The inaugural meeting was in May 2010.
  • Regular Meetings: Throughout the year, POMEPS will host smaller meetings unified by a common theme, such as Yemen, Islamism, oil, democracy or Iran. Half a dozen scholars will exchange cutting-edge work in progress, and also meet privately with senior policy-makers, journalists, editors, and policy analysts.
  • Academic Engagement: POMEPS helps Fellows improve their prospects for academic publication and supports events where they can present their work, including special sessions and organized panels at relevant academic conferences.
  • Policy Engagement: POMEPS will help to facilitate interaction between its members and policy makers, journalists, and others on a regular basis.
  • Web Site: The POMEPS website will regularly publicize new academic work on the Middle East and host “book salons” for authors and critics. The site will become a major outlet for the dissemination of research.
  • The Monkey Cage: In efforts to increase the reach of research by academic Middle East specialists, POMEPS solicits, edits, and publishes analysis articles on The Monkey Cage at the Washington PostThe Monkey Cage has long been one of the premiere political science blogs, with the mission of disseminating high quality political science research and promoting public engagement by political scientists. Read more on POMEPS and The Monkey Cage here.
  • Middle East Channel: From March 2010 to March 2014 POMEPS supported the Middle East Channel at ForeignPolicy.com, a hub for online analysis and commentary on the Middle East. During this time POMEPS published more than 1,000 articles from over 500 contributors, including academics, journalists, policy analysts, and think tank representatives.

The POMEPS Team: 

Marc Lynch is a professor of political science and international affairs at the George Washington University, where he is the director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and the Project on Middle East Political Science. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and a contributing editor at The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. He is the co-director of the Blogs and Bullets project at the United States Institute of Peace.

He is the author of The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East (2012), Voices of the New Arab Public: Al Jazeera, Iraq, and Middle East Politics Today (2006), and State Interests and Public Spheres: The International Politics of Jordan’s Identity (1999). His edited volume, The Arab Uprisings Explained: The New Contentious Politics of the Middle East, will be published by Columbia University Press in August 2014.

Lynch blogged as Abu Aardvark for seven years before joining Foreign Policy as a blogger and columnist. In 2010 Lynch, launched the Middle East Channel on Foreign Policy, which he edited until March 2014. He can now be found online at The Monkey Cage.

Cortni Kerr is the POMEPS communications and operations specialist, as well as assistant editor for The Monkey Cage. Prior to joining POMEPS, she led monitoring and evaluation and outreach efforts for Tavaana: E-Learning Institute for Iranian Civil Society, a multi-platform civic education and civil society capacity building program. Cortni has lived and taught English in Bahrain and Egypt, and has interned with Human Rights Watch, the New York Times, and the Middle East Research and Information Project. She holds a bachelor’s in Arabic studies and history from Williams College. She is pursuing a certificate in geographic information systems at the George Washington University.

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